Apple confirms iOS source code got leaked on GitHub

Apple iOS

An Apple iPhone 7 and the company logo are seen in this illustration

Having knowledge of this code could help hackers and others jailbreak the device, helping them find flaws and bugs, which could decrypt iPhones and emulate the smartphones' software, so it can be used on other devices. The codes have since been removed after Apple asked for it claiming that it is proprietary material and is not meant for open circulation on the web.

Apple keeps code like this firmly under lock and key, in a form of 'security through obscurity', as it is essential to the core functionality of iOS.

It is also the same reason the code could be so important for the hacking community who are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities and loop holes in operating systems. Apple itself seems unconcerned about the potential security issues, with the company noting in a statement that the code is already three years old and that "the security of our products doesn't depend on the secrecy of our source code". In summary, it is the program that loads iOS, and is the first program that runs when an iOS device is booted up.

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The code was for the outdated iOS 9, released in September 2015, but it is expected that parts of the code may still be in use underpinning the iPhone's security in later releases.

The Cupertino giant may have not officially confirmed the alleged iOS source code leak but it has indirectly done so by sending a legal notice to GitHub, asking it to take the iBoot code down.

Andy Kays, chief technology officer at British cybersecurity firm Redscan, told Sky News: "The release of the iBoot code demonstrates that vendors can't take it for granted that source code will always remain hidden".

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Sky News has contacted Apple for a comment. While Apple has said that the leak is essentially nothing for users to be concerned about, it makes one wonder whether Apple's ecosystem is as roughly locked down as once thought.

iOS bootloader The leak could be of value to "jailbreakers" who install third-party software on iPhones and iPads.

Apple has played down fears that leaked source code from an old version of its iOS operating system could compromise the security of some products. Many people ignored it because the user had a short history of posts.

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